Daylight Saving Time has passed, and the daylight hours are growing steadily shorter. That means you may already be leaving your home in the morning in the dark and coming back again in the dark in the evening.
A lot of people find driving in the dark challenging, especially as they start getting older. The glare of the lights in traffic can actually be very anxiety-inducing to many — for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes are three times more common at night than in the daytime.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:
Don’t drive while drowsy
Caffeine, a quick nap or a sugary snack may help in a pinch, but you really shouldn’t be on the road at all if you’re sleepy. It’s better to stay home and skip an event (or just be late to work) than to drive when you’re overly tired — especially in dim light.
Keep your windshields and mirrors clean
Dirt can cause the light coming from other vehicles, street lights and buildings to refract more, which actually increases the amount of glare you see. That can make it even harder to navigate the roads safely. Be vigilant about cleaning your windshield and wiping off your side mirrors.
Be careful about how you use your headlights
Knowing how to work your headlights for maximum visibility is incredibly important in low light — and experts say that you probably need a professional to make sure they’re tilted correctly. Plus, you need to keep your high beams off when you’re in city traffic or approaching other vehicles to keep from blinding other drivers.
Talk to your eye doctor about your night driving
If you’re having major problems driving at night, you may be developing cataracts. Even small ones can make the glare from traffic lights impossible to manage. You may need a special pair of glasses that are just for night driving.
Unfortunately, not every driver will be as conscientious as you, and anything can happen out there on the road. If you are in a nighttime collision that’s not your fault, it pays to have experienced legal guidance with your claim.